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Gee Not Buying Into the “Verducci Effect”

By Mike Silva ~ January 20th, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

Yesterday, the Mets showed the “Citi Field Kids” for a tour around the clubhouse as part of their community outreach program. One of the players participating in the event was RHP Dillon Gee, who will be competing for the fifth spot in the rotation this spring. I caught up with Gee afterwards and talked to him about his September call up and his thoughts on a recent Sports Illustrated article which put him as one of the ten pitchers at risk for injury in 2011.

Just a week ago Tom Verducci of SI named his annual candidates for the “Verducci Effect” This theory states that “pitchers 25 and younger should not increase their workload by more than 30 innings.” If they do, it often leads to performance regression or injury the following year. Gee jumped from 48 innings in an injury plagued 2009 to 194 between Buffalo and New York the next year. If there is a “Verducci Effect,” Gee’s not buying into it.

“Innings aren’t a big deal,” said Gee, pointing out he threw nearly 200 innings his first pro season in 2007 (173 between college and Brooklyn to be exact), and told me the labrum issues he suffered in 2009 weren’t a result of workload, but injuring himself while working out.

Gee found out about the Verducci’s piece from a friend, and was surprised because he always has thrown a lot of innings since high school. In college, he would relieve on Friday and Saturday, and make a start on Sunday, certainly not a workload that fits the modern perception that pitchers are “babied” in their early years. When asked, Gee didn’t flinch at the thought of pitching 200 innings this year.

Although the Mets rotation is unsettled, it will be a challenge for Gee to break camp with the club. Three spots are set - R.A. Dickey, Jonathon Niese, and Mike Pelfrey- while you have figure Chris Capuano and Chris Young have the advantage, if healthy, due to their big league resume. With that said, don’t count Gee out as he is looking forward to “proving people wrong.”

He talked about his September start in Philly which he believed was the highlight of his season. With a raucous Citizen’s Bank crowd looking to celebrate a fourth straight NL East title, Gee gave up a two run homer to Ryan Howard in the first. Instead of melting down, he shut the Phillies out the rest of the way, turning in a solid 7 inning/2 run performance. He believes that game is a synopsis of who he is as a pitcher. “I take pride in not showing emotion, keeping my composure, and fight. I am a big fighter.”

Gee knows the prospect lists aren’t kind to him. He realizes that other pitchers profile better due to “stuff,” but he believes his mental outlook is an advantage.” I want to be the guy that eats innings, be consistent every day, and you know what you are going to get from me.” Despite not blessed with velocity, Gee does have four pitches that he believes he can command effectively.

Is 12 wins, a 4.50 ERA, and 200 innings out of the question? I think not. In a league where backend of the rotations are constantly stressing GM’s, many would pay $5-6 million dollars a year for those numbers. Gee might not have the electric stuff, but his poise has already been on display in September. “I like to be the underdog,” Gee told me. Personally, I always like to bet on the underdog who relishes the fight.

Something tells me that Dillon Gee will play a role in the 2011 Mets rotation regardless of what fans, prognosticators, and Tom Verducci think.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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3 Responses to Gee Not Buying Into the “Verducci Effect”

  1. Metaday

    Nice article Mike, hey the more I hear about this young man the more I like about him. I am beginning to think he just may have the right “Stuff”.

  2. Jeff from Delaware

    I wish I could remember which spring it was a few years ago when I watched Dillon Gee pitch, but he made a distinct impression on me. Albeit a spring training game, the kid had “it,” and I’ve been hoping he’d slog his way up through the ranks and eventually make the staff.

    Call me a shmuck, or sentimental even, but I’ll take homegrown product over hired guns any day.

  3. John

    It is great to see a young kid with a great arm but so many of them have no idea how to pitch. This kid knows how to pitch. Niese is the same way. You should be knocking them around and the next thing you know it it the seventh inning and you have only 2 runs on the board.

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